Former Chicago playwright John Logan will have his first play on Broadway this spring, when Red opens at the Golden Theatre on April 1, according to a report in Playbill.com. The play, currently running at London's Donmar Warehouse, stars Alfred Molina as abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. Previews begin March 11.
Logan, a Northwestern University alum, began his playwriting career in Chicago in the mid-1980s, when the now-defunct Stormfield Theatre presented Never the Sinner, his drama about the Leopold-Loeb murder case. (It was revived last summer by Project 891 Theatre Company.)
Never the Sinner , which also played off-Broadway and in London, helped establish Logan as Chicago's most prominent playwright in the 1980s. His specialty was well-researched dramas based on historical events and figures, including Hauptmann, about accused Lindbergh baby-napper Bruno Richard Hauptmann. (Though an off-Broadway flop in 1992, Hauptmann launched the New York career of Denis O'Hare, who went on to win the 2003 best-actor Tony Award for Take Me Out. O'Hare also co-starred in Never the Sinner and in Victory Gardens' 1989 premiere production of Logan's Music From a Locked Room.)
Logan's Riverview: A Melodrama With Music, a crime story set at Chicago's fabled Riverview amusement park, was produced in 1992 at the Goodman—the first Goodman mainstage mounting of a work by a local playwright since David Mamet's Lakeboat a decade earlier. Other plays, seen here and elsewhere, tackled subjects ranging from the Russian Revolution to the murder of Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini.
In the mid-1990s, Logan began to focus on screenwriting. His film credits include The Aviator, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, Sweeney Todd, Star Trek: Nemesis, and RKO 281 (a TV movie about the making of Citizen Kane). It's been years since a new work of his was done here, but he remains a member of Victory Gardens Theater's playwrights ensemble and has been a generous supporter of Chicago theater.
According to production notes, "Red is set in 1958 as New York artist Mark Rothko (Alfred Molina) has received the art world's largest commission to create a series of murals for the Four Seasons restaurant in the new Seagram building on Park Avenue. Under the watchful gaze of his young assistant, Ken (Eddie Redmayne) and the threatening presence of a new generation of artists, Rothko faces his greatest challenge yet: to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting."